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Understanding "Obey Allah & the Messenger"

In the Qur'an, "Allah & the Messenger" is a single entity. Allah issues the instructions, teachings and ethics - and the Messenger is from whom these teachings are communicated. "Allah and the Messenger" is depicted in the verses as follows:

"A release from 'Allah and His Messenger' from the treaty you [believers] made with the idolaters" (Qur'an 9:1) 

If Allah releases the believers from the treaty, the Messenger automatically does too.

"If you do not, then be warned of war from 'Allah and His Messenger'. You shall have your capital if you repent, and without suffering loss or causing others to suffer loss." (Qur'an 2:279)

Notice, the war is from Allah as well as the Messenger, although it is waged physically by the Messenger.

"Those who responded to 'Allah and the Messenger' after suffering defeat, who do good and remain conscious of Allah, will have a great reward." (Qur'an 3:172)

Again, the same concept above.

"And if anyone leaves home as a migrant towards 'Allah and His Messenger' and is then overtaken by death, his reward from Allah is sure. Allah is most forgiving and most merciful." (Qur'an 4:100)

"The poor emigrants who were driven from their homes and possessions, who seek Allah’s favour and approval, those who help 'Allah and His Messenger' - these are the ones who are true - [shall have a share]." (Qur'an 59:8)

In the above verse, how does a person help Allah? Does Allah need any help? Yet, the expression "Allah and His Messenger" is used. This is because they are a single 'entity' to be heeded.

"This is a proclamation from 'Allah and His Messenger' to all people On the Day of the Great Pilgrimage that ‘Allah and His Messenger' are released from [treaty] obligations to the idolaters. It will be better for you [idolaters] if you repent; know that you cannot escape Allah  if you turn away.’ [Prophet], warn those who ignore [Allah] that they will have a painful punishment.

The 'proclamation' is made by the Messenger himself to all people, yet it is from "Allah and His Messenger".

"The recompense of those who fight 'Allah and His messenger', and seek to make corruption in the land, is that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from alternate sides or that they be banished from the land; that is a disgrace for them in this world and in the Hereafter they will have a great torment." (Qur'an 5:33)  

In the above verse, if one fights the messenger, he automatically 'fights' Allah too. All these verses prove that Allah and His messenger are a single entity to be obeyed.

"Say, I am nothing new among the Messengers. I have no idea what will be done with me or you. I only follow what has been revealed to me. I am only a clear warner.' (Qur'an 46:9)

As is stated in the above verse, the prophetic religion is based on the Qur'an. "Allah and His Messenger" do not issue contradictory teachings between themselves, that is, the prophet will not instruct against the teachings of Allah in the Qur'an, as his duty is to preach the message of the Qur'an. This is why it is stated in the Qur'an that:

"Whoever obeys the Messenger obeys Allah. If some pay no heed, We have not sent you to be their keeper." (Qur'an 4:80)

Thus, the prophet's true teachings are always in conformity with the Qur'an. Yet, many people today, when asked about following a reported saying of the prophet that contradicts the Qur'an immediately quote, "Obey Allah and the Messenger" from verses like the following:

"Say, 'Obey Allah and the Messenger'. But if they turn away, [know that] Allah does not love the disbelievers." (Qur'an 3:32)

They do not realise that the Messenger does not issue a teaching against Allah. In other words, the Messenger never issued any teaching that violates the Qur'an. Their understanding immediately shows they have not grasped the Quranic essence nor studied the Qur'an.

“The Messenger’s duty is only to deliver the message: Allah knows what you reveal and what you conceal.” (Qur’an 5:99)


Since the Qur'an tells us that the prophet definitely upheld all the teachings of the Qur'an and does not speak against it, accepting reported 'hadiths' which violates the Qur'an, is disobeying the Messenger! The Messenger could not have done or commanded such a thing! He would have said what the Quranic verses said (and continue to say today). Also, as the Qur'an is the most authentic source, it does not matter how "authentic" that contradictory hadith may be claimed to be by any "scholar". If Quranic verses contradicts a hadith, then it is not possible for that hadith to be valid and truthful. The Qur'an reaffirms that the prophet would have been destroyed if he issued a teaching that contradicts the Qur'an:

"This [Qur'an] is sent down from the Lord of all the worlds. If [the Prophet] had said anything against Us, We would certainly have seized his right hand and cut off his artery, and none of you could have defended him." (Qur'an 69:43-47)

As Quranic injunctions are prophetic injunctions, then it follows that obeying Quranic injunctions and way of life meticulously, is obeying Messenger. Therefore, the way to totally 'obey' the Messenger, is to be thoroughly knowledgeable of the Qur'an - always being mindful of its content, and upholding its teachings in all places and time - judging everything by it - and not accepting teachings that go against it, no matter how authentic it is alleged to be by a human being. Anything that goes against the Qur'an lacks all credibility, no matter how many people claim it to be genuine. 

"And We have revealed the Book to you which has clear explanations of everything, and a guidance, mercy and good news for those who submit." (Qur'an 16:89)

“This Book has been sent down to you (Prophet) – let there be no anxiety in your heart about it – so that you may use it to give warning and to remind the believers (by telling them): ‘Follow what has been sent down to you from your Lord, (the Qur'an)! Do not follow other masters beside Him. How seldom you take heed!’ ” (Qur’an 7:2)

Reading the Qur'an but Practising Something Else

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See also:   Less Known Aspects of Hadith

                 "Take what the Messenger Gives You and Abstain from what he Forbids you"

                Verse 5:33 - "Cut off alternate hands and feet"

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